Improving Cycling Performance With Aero Wheels And 25mm Tyres
Its race week and as usual its time to try something new. Yeah I know what your thinking. Never try something new on race week and I tend to agree but for my Ironman races its been a bit of a tradition so thought I wouldn't mess with tradition this time around.
So 4 days before my big race I thought I would have a bit of a test ride of a couple of changes I made to my bike. I actually hate getting out on the road this close to a race as I don't think other drivers can be trusted. I was hit by a car 4 weeks from my first Ironman race and needed to start the race with a brand new, un ridden bike. So for this time around I have finally moved to using 25mm tyres and as you can see from the image above, I have an aero jacket on the rear wheel of my bike.
Firstly, lets start with the 25mm tyres. Its actually been a long time that professional riders have moved to using 25mm tyres on 23mm width wheels. There is a lot of research to suggest you'll get improved rolling resistance making for a faster ride as well a more comfortable ride due to the extra tyre width absorbing a lot of the bumps. Getting out on the road, I know this is probably in my head but I actually felt like I was higher off the road. Not sure if 2mm extra would be that noticeable but I can actually say I did feel like the tryes were absorbing a lot more of the bumps on the road. Auckland roads are a pretty poor standard so it was nice to get some extra relief. Can't say I noticed any significant change in speed though.
With my new aero jacket disc cover also installed it was time to focus on any time saving I was getting from that. Even though it added an extra 200g (approximately) to the weight of the bike. It definitely was not noticeable. The main issue I was worried about was the wheel getting pushed by a cross wind and there was no issue with that at all. It was a pretty windy afternoon and there was a lot of opportunity to ride with cross winds hitting the wheel, so that was a big plus. Being so close to a race I only rode for 15km which I guess was not long enough to really get a gauge of any real performance improvement. I didn't see any drop in performance or reduction in speed due to the new tryes or aero jacket. During the ride time I did actually get my fastest time over a 6 minute segment that I have rode 32 times, so hopefully I will see some more conclusive results on a longer ride...maybe 180km.